The Importance of Diversity

If you haven’t noticed the amount of advertising campaigns that feature diverse people, then that would honestly surprise me. Campaigns that finally include people of all shapes and sizes, people with disabilities, people with different ethnicities and beliefs, people who identify as a variety of genders/are non-binary; people who are from all walks of life.

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This is such an amazing movement which should have been started many years ago, right when modern advertising begun. Why is it such a big deal? What’s the point? What’s wrong with using the ‘standard model’ image to promote products and services?

How many people do you think look like the Victoria Secret models – without putting themselves to harm? Do you tend to see people who look like you in advertising campaigns? The problem with using just one type of model is that it’s just not representative enough. For example, when I was a teenager, I always saw models with tiny noses, perfect skin, perfect hair, flat stomach, small waist, skinny legs but with large breasts and butt. I used to wish I could look like that. I used to think if I could look like that then I could finally be happy. I looked into nose surgery, ear surgery, I went on extreme diets and exercise regimes because I just thought I wasn’t ‘good enough’.

This was the reason I jumped at the chance to take part in a campaign/protest outside Victoria’s Secret in December 2018 after their comments about their lack of use of plus sized models and transgenders. Months after these comments and this protest, they’ve had to shut a few stores down, their annual show had the least amount of viewers on record and they’ve tried to introduce a ‘plus sized model’ – who is only a size 10. This has just made them look even more ridiculous (in my opinion).

Now, fortunately, there’s an increasingly amount of campaigns that show cellulite and stretch marks, that show scars, non-flat stomachs, people with amputations and other disabilities among many other features that are usually airbrushed out of pictures/videos. This is what I needed to see when I was younger. I needed to see the real bodies of all sorts of different women rather than just one body type. I needed to see the petite, medium, tall, skinny, curvy, disabled, skin imperfections and conditions. I needed to see real people. Companies such as NuNude, Neon Moon, Lemonade Dolls all encourage and love diversity as much as I do and this is what we need. Their campaigns have always made me feel good about myself, in contrast to the others that have made me feel inadequate.

Just yesterday, Dove launched a new project called #ShowUs, talking about the need for more women to be represented in the media industry. (You can watch their promotional video here.)

“70% of women still don’t feel represented in media & advertising. That’s why Dove is taking action with Girlgaze, Getty Images, and women everywhere to create Project #ShowUs – the world’s largest photo library created by women and non-binary individuals to shatter beauty stereotypes. With over 5000 images, we can offer a more inclusive vision of beauty to all media & advertisers.” – Dove

I think I watched the video about 10 times as I just fell in love with the concept.

There are many other companies focusing on diversity in their campaigns, such as Boots as well as Missguided using mannequins with stretch marks and vitiligo (granted that they are still one body shape but it’s still a step in the right direction), a wedding dress shop in Bristol having a mannequin with a wedding dress on in a wheelchair, River Island for using several diverse models in their adult and kids range lately and Primark has used models with amputations and vitiligo in their stores.

These are just a few of the campaigns I have seen recently that show that anyone and everyone should be represented in the media. They are needed so that people around the world can feel included and accepted – not discriminated against. We need the next generation and the one after that and the one after that etc. to know that they can be who they are without fear of rejection. We need to make the world a more kinder and accepting place, so that we can celebrate our differences and uniqueness, rather than being shunned for not being ‘enough’. There’s approximately 7.7 billion of us on this planet and we’re all different and all deserve to be and feel celebrated and loved for who we are.

Bring on the diversity! Because I, for one, am loving it.

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